This is my son Luke. He and his twin brother were born almost 12 years ago after multiple IVF cycles and draining our savings account. A lot has changed since then, and much has not.

Over the last dozen years, the fertility industry has more than doubled their success rates from roughly 30% success to 60%+ success per IVF transfer; and those success rates are mostly consistent across U.S. practices. When you see a fertility clinic with very low success rates or very high success rates, the fertility practice is either taking a highly disproportionate percentage of poor prognosis, or good prognosis, cases. In addition to much higher success rates, the incidence of twins – and resulting premature babies in NICU costs – is significantly lower. Where a dozen years ago, one out of three IVF cycles resulted in twins or triplets, today, those numbers are single digits – again, it’s consistent across the U.S. The fertility industry has more than tripled as families look different today than they did a couple of decades ago. And the biggest, most dramatic change is in how patients pay for treatment. Historically, IVF was for a privileged few who could add a second mortgage to their home to pay for treatment or borrow from parents to cosign a loan. There was virtually no state mandated coverage and no employer coverage.

Despite success rates improving dramatically and at parity across the country, the cost for IVF remains prohibitively high. Demand for treatment is outstripping supply causing fertility practices to keep prices artificially inflated with long wait lists. A tremendous divide remains for a privileged few who can afford to have the family of their dreams versus those that cannot. And historically, that’s been true for employers too with only a small percentage in a position to sponsor fertility coverage for their employees.

Today, that changes. Today, we accelerate our mission to democratize care and to provide fertility coverage for all. 

We are grateful to share that Walmart has selected Kindbody as its Centers of Excellence for fertility and family-building care. All eligible Walmart associates will have access to more than 30 state-of-the-art Kindbody clinics nationwide, including a new clinic in Northwest Arkansas opening to the entire community this Fall. Walmart and other innovative employers are disrupting how employers pay for care by taking insurers out of the equation and contracting directly with leading provider groups such as Geisinger, the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Virginia Mason, and now – Kindbody. Walmart and other leading employers are crafting bundled payment arrangements that cover the cost of an employee’s care from start to finish. They’re also picking up the tab for any necessary travel, lodging, and meals. Walmart began these efforts almost a decade ago which were highlighted in a March 2019 cover story from Harvard Business Review titled, “How Employers Are Fixing Healthcare”

After spending the last dozen years in the fertility industry, what I’ve learned is that only three things matter in healthcare: patient experience, patient outcome and costs – and, that you must be in the provision of care to effect change. Insurance companies and care navigation firms who are incentivized to steer patients to the highest priced doctors do not have aligned incentives to reduce the costs of care. The only way to bring down the costs of care is to align goals between the patient, the provider and the employer. Only doctors can reduce the costs of care because only doctors can show the courage to replace legacy fee-for-service plans with bundled case rates, and publish them on their website so there are no surprises. And, Sam Walton knew all too well that it couldn’t only be about providing a more affordable solution, you must delight the customer. So, while I’m proud of our more cost effective solution, I’m most pleased to share that our average NPS (net promoter score) has stayed above 88 since inception – unheard of in the healthcare industry; and, our preliminary data for 2021 across our network average for pregnancy rate per IVF transfer and live birth rate are above the national average of 51% and 44% respectively.

I grew up in a small town in North Carolina, the first in my family to graduate from college. We were at Walmart often. During the early months of the pandemic, I was again at Walmart often not only to shop, but to socialize and connect with my community. I was grateful to the cashiers and shelves’ stockers who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. Walmart provided hope, and a place to reconnect with my community, when other stores were closed. 

When I think of Walmart, I think of Family. Community. Courage. Leader. I think of being a leader like Sam Walton who said, ”You can’t just keep doing what works one time, everything around you is changing. To succeed, stay out in front of change”. At Kindbody, we’re fortunate to have customers committed to leading from the front and who share our mission to unapologetically bring down the high costs of fertility and family-building care and improve service – making it transparent and friendly for all. 

So today, I thank all of Walmart’s employees and leadership for selecting us to help you build the family you’ve always dreamed of. We know the responsibility you’ve provided us, and we do not take it lightly. And, to my twin boys, Dream big. Take chances. And, know that change takes courage.

Gina Bartasi
Gina Bartasi
Gina Bartasi is a seasoned entrepreneur and veteran problem solver, with 20+ years of experience in health tech, and a proven track record of leading disruptive businesses through rapid growth stages and successful exits. After founding Progyny (NASDAQ: PGNY) in 2015, she heard employers’ desire to purchase fertility benefits directly from providers, resulting in millions in savings. Based on employers’ feedback and industry insights, Gina launched Kindbody in August of 2018 with a team of experienced healthcare and industry veterans.